E-Bikes – How They Work. Read the article below to find out more.

Motorized bikes, sometimes called “power- assisted vehicles,” “human-electric hybrids,” or “pedelecs” (for “pedal electric” cycles) combine the driver’s pedaling with a motorized assist from a rechargeable electric battery, which can be plugged into any standard outlet. This is in contrast to mopeds or motorcycles, which run on gas and have combustion engines like those in cars, and also in contrast to other types of electric bikes and scooters that run entirely on electricity without any pedal power from the rider.

These vehicles often look just like conventional bikes, and some are even converted from conventional bikes. The motor is sometimes attached to the frame, or in some cases hidden away discretely within the frame.

With some pedaled e-bikes, the rider turns the electric assistance on or off using a toggle or a twist of the handlebar, and can choose an entirely electric ride, an entirely pedaled ride, or a ride combining electric with pedal power.

With a “pedelec,” on the other hand, the rider just gets on, pedals, and switches gears when needed, as if riding a standard non-electric bike. A computerized sensor combines force from the battery seamlessly with the rider’s own pedal power, and gives the biggest “push” when the rider needs it most: usually in kicking off initially and in surmounting hills. At higher speeds, when the rider’s own pedaling has the bike cruising at a fast and steady pace, the battery-powered motor’s contribution can drop out almost to zero. With most human-electric hybrid cycles, you can also choose to ride the bicycles as a regular non-electric bike for extra exercise.

For all types, the motor and battery itself can add a little bit of weight to the bike, around 20 pounds—roughly comparable to adding a couple of textbooks to your backpack.

Electric bikes can go anywhere from 20–50 miles between charges. They are generally classified by law as “low-speed electric bicycles,” because they tend to go about 20–25 miles an hour. They don’t require a license plate or vehicle insurance in most states, but check the rules for where you live. And because they’re electric rather than combustion-powered, a trip on these motorized bikes is quiet—quiet enough to hear the birds singing on the way to wherever you’re going.

Drivers of these vehicles value the motorized boost that helps them more easily pedal up daunting hills, get home with groceries or other heavy loads, pedal a small child to school in a child seat or wheeled trailer, and commute to work in dress clothes without breaking a sweat. And for short trips, riding an electric bike can be faster than driving a car, especially because you won’t get stuck in traffic or can head for the bike rack by the door rather than driving around seeking parking. And drivers of motorized bikes still get exercise from pedaling, albeit with a little electric help—so these bikes offer more exercise than driving that’s a little less strenuous than pedaling a conventional bike.

Greener Than a Second Car

Compared to taking a car or some other gas-powered vehicle, these human-powered vehicles with electric assist travel completely clean, with no carbon dioxide emissions or other pollutants. Even when you factor in the pollution that might have been used to generate the energy to charge your vehicle, electric bikes are only one-tenth as polluting as driving a car the same distance, according to Electric-Bikes.com.

Joelle NoveyGreen American